The main difference between bodily injury and personal injury is that bodily injury insurance covers expenses related to injuries the other party suffers as a result of a car accident. Under Florida statute § 627.736, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can cover $10,000 worth of medical expenses and lost wages that happen because of a car accident. Personal injury coverage benefits are distributed regardless of who is at fault for an accident.
It is important to know the difference between bodily injury and personal injury because auto insurance policies typically only require drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance. Drivers convicted of a DUI are mandated to obtain bodily injury coverage under Florida statute § 324.023. Standard auto insurance policies must include $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, which is paid to the policyholder if a car accident causes injuries.
Florida mandates that any driver convicted of a DUI must maintain bodily injury coverage for three years after restoring their driving privileges. For DUI convictions that occurred after October 1st, 2007, the minimum bodily injury coverage drivers must maintain is $100,000 per person and $300,000 for two or more people.
Although Florida does not require drivers without a previous DUI conviction to carry bodily injury insurance, drivers and vehicle owners must have at least $10,000 worth of personal injury and property damage liability coverage each, per the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) insurance requirements. The difference between having bodily injury and personal injury coverage and choosing to carry state minimum coverage is that if you are the at-fault party in an accident and the driver suffers damages over $10,000, you can be liable for the excess costs and face a civil suit.
How Bodily Injury Insurance Protects You
Even safe drivers can make mistakes behind the wheel. From the FLHSMV Crash Dashboard, 403,626 car accidents in Florida resulted in 255,353 injuries in 2018. The prevalence of car accidents means that practicing ideal driving habits is not always enough to prevent an accident. While personal injury insurance coverage protects you for the first $10,000 worth of expenses related to injuries from an accident, serious accidents can cause significant financial costs.
If You Are At-Fault
If you are at fault for an accident, it can leave you civilly vulnerable. If the other driver or passengers sustain significant injuries, bodily injury insurance can protect you against legal action. However, failing to have bodily injury insurance can allow the other party to pursue damages. Litigation can be costly, especially if you have assets that could be exposed in a judgment.
Discuss Your Options With Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company can review with you the difference between bodily injury and personal injury and suggest the ideal coverage for your needs, which can include reviewing things like your:
- Assets and net worth
- Driving history
- Whether you have new or inexperienced drivers in your household
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What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed?
Injuries suffered from a car accident can give rise to a personal injury claim. In Florida, these types of claims do not have caps for damages. The two types of damages you can pursue for injuries from a car accident include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages involve financial costs that can be proven in court with an invoice or receipt, such as:
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Transportation costs to medical appointments
Non-economic damages include claims like:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of affection
Personal injury policies cover only economic damages. Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, can be claimed only if you sustain a permanent injury in a car accident.
How Damages Are Calculated
Economic damages are the financial costs associated with your accident. Non-economic damages consider factors such as how your injuries impact your present and future life. Suffering a severe injury can lead to a disability or limit your ability to work. You may have to change careers because of an injury or might be unable to work full-time.
Non-economic damages also consider how your injuries affect your daily life. Car accidents can lead to chronic and permanent physical and psychological injuries, which can impede your ability to maintain your current standard of living. You can pursue future lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working or cause you to transition to a lower-paying career.
Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Today
Incurred damages make it important to know the difference between bodily injury and personal injury, so you can choose the right insurance policy for your needs. While nobody wants to experience a car accident, they are common. Making sure your interests are protected, whether you are the victim or at-fault, is essential.
At Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers, we handle personal injury claims and can protect your rights to compensation. Call us today at (855) 529-0269 to schedule a free consultation.
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